How to Find the Right Bible for You.

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I get asked all the time: What Bible do you recommend using to read and study from?

The thing is, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to that question. There are different translations. Different looks and feels. Different layouts and maps and commentary. You’ve got to find the Bible that makes the most sense for you.

Today I am breaking down the 8 best options I’ve discovered in my time of reading and studying the Word. Mind you, there are dozens of Bibles I would like to highlight (would a resource section be helpful to you?) but these are the ones I have the space to talk about today!

I hope these recommendations can lead you to finding your forever Bible.

001. THE ESV STUDY BIBLE

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This little guy (or should I say, big guy) is a staple in our household. We have two of them-- a hardcover and soft cover edition. These bibles don’t leave our home because they’re pretty heavy but it’s my favorite ritual to pull out this Bible when I am at home and study from it. 

The ESV Study Bible is this perfect blend of cross references, maps, and information on the text. If ever I am not understanding something, my first stop is always to check the smaller text in this Bible. Plus, it’s drop-dead gorgeous so that’s a bonus.

Here’s what Crossway had to say about their study bible:

“Created by a diverse team of 95 leading Bible scholars and teachers—from 9 countries, nearly 20 denominations, and 50 seminaries, colleges, and universities—the ESV Study Bible features a wide array of study tools, making it a valuable resource for serious readers, students, and teachers of God’s word.

    • 20,000+ study notes

    • 80,000+ cross–references

    • 200+ charts

    • 50+ articles

    • 240 full-color maps and illustrations

    • Concordance”

ESV Translation :: The ESV translation seeks to capture the literal meaning of the original text. This means the writers of this translation worked super hard to get the words you’re reading as close as possible to the original first drafts of the Bible. AKA nothing lost in translation. 

002. the scripture journal set

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I recently discovered this scripture journal set created by Crossway and I could not be more obsessed. The set comes in color and black + gold. I love this journal set (available in Old + New Testament) because of the layout. Each book of the Bible is broken up into its own journal. The text is laid out on one side and there is space to journal on the other side. The books are also available for purchase individually.

I recently filled my first journal and cannot wait to look back on my notes (and add some more) in the years to come. 

  1. This is perfect for the person who loves to journal in their Bible but needs more space. 

  2. This is perfect for the traveler who doesn’t want to carry around a bulky Bible on trips. Grab the current book you’re studying and get going!

  3. This is perfect for the individual taking in-depth notes on a certain book of the Bible. Plenty of space to study and grow within the pages.

ESV Translation :: The ESV translation seeks to capture the literal meaning of the original text. This means the writers of this translation worked super hard to get the words you’re reading as close as possible to the original first drafts of the Bible. AKA nothing lost in translation. 

003. The NIV Artisan Collection Bible

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Zondervan recently gifted me with one these beautiful journaling Bibles and it’s become a home decor staple for us. A great way to keep the Bible out for others. If you’re someone who needs space to journal or likes to get creative and artistic when reading the Word then this Bible might be waiting for you.

This bible comes in three different colors with wide margins to keep your notes. It’s a hand-painted, cloth, hard-cover Bible. It also includes artwork throughout the pages.

NIV Translation :: The NIV translation was created by hundreds of scholars— the best in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts. The vision for this translation was provided by a worker at General Electric in the 1960s- Howard Long. Long was devoted to the King James Version of the Bible but was distressed to find out the text didn’t connect when he shared it with friends. Howard longed for a translation that spoke the modern language while keeping the truth of the Bible intact. The NIV Translation was born out of that vision.



004. CSB SPURGEon study bible

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If there’s one biblical scholar I have a sincere crush on then it’s Charles Spurgeon. Informally known as the “prince of preachers,” Spurgeon preached to over 10 million people in his lifetime and wrote thousands of sermons (all which are available online). I can see this study Bible resonating with anyone out there who wants to become a better teacher of the Word or get some good practice preparing sermons. No better person to study beside than good, ol’ Charlie.

The CSB Spurgeon Study Bible features dozens of excerpts from Spurgeon’s sermons so you can bring Spurgeon’s knowledge into your study time.

CSB Translation :: This text is considered the closest to modern, everyday language that you will find out there. If you are someone who struggles to understand the Bible then this translation might be a great starting point for you. This is a translation that exists for today’s modern reader and is commonly used by pastors and those who preach the Word of God.



005. Single Column Journaling Bible

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This is what I like to call a “forever Bible.” It’s the kind of Bible that wears with age and just gets better with time. You can take it anywhere, fill it with notes, and have a long-running reference to God’s promises. I personally love this journaling Bible and a lot of my friends have it. For one, it’s absolutely gorgeous and, on top of that, there is a column on each page to journal with. I have to say- I don’t think Crossway gets a thing wrong with the creation of their Bibles. I have to recommend them every dang time.

ESV Translation :: The ESV translation seeks to capture the literal meaning of the original text. This means the writers of this translation worked super hard to get the words you’re reading as close as possible to the original first drafts of the Bible. AKA nothing lost in translation. 





006. the message devotional bible

Okay, okay, I was wrong when I said I had the biggest crush on Charles Spurgeon. The bigger crush, now and forever, rightfully goes to Eugene Peterson. Guys, I cannot freak out enough about this man and what mountains I feel like he has moved for the Bible-reading community. I would recommend ALL of this books. Now here’s the thing about this: people will always tell you not to study from the Message Translation. And I think there is weight to that. This isn’t the Bible you would use to get in-depth and nitty gritty with the text.

However, if you are looking to understand the Bible and read the Bible from the perspective of a writer and poet then this Bible is calling out to you, beckoning your name. I picked this one out because I think the way it is broken up into devotionals is pretty cool. I am constantly referencing the Message Translation because it literally shakes my soul and makes me appreciate the Bible even more.

The Message Translation :: It’s better to just let Eugene explain to you, in his own words, why he wrote the Message translation: "While I was teaching a class on Galatians, I began to realize that the adults in my class weren't feeling the vitality and directness that I sensed as I read and studied the New Testament in its original Greek. Writing straight from the original text, I began to attempt to bring into English the rhythms and idioms of the original language. I knew that the early readers of the New Testament were captured and engaged by these writings and I wanted my congregation to be impacted in the same way. I hoped to bring the New Testament to life for two different types of people: those who hadn't read the Bible because it seemed too distant and irrelevant and those who had read the Bible so much that it had become 'old hat.'"

007. WIDE-MARGIN REFERENCE BIBLE

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This is the Bible that has my heart and I want to tell you why: I will not buy a Bible without cross references. I honestly cannot imagine my time in the Word without being about to follow cross references all over the place. I’m surprised to find that you have to dig to find a reference Bible but it was a non-negotiable for me. This is the Bible I carry around and travel with. It’s the Bible I preach one, the one that houses all my prayers and revelations. I love the leather and the simple feel to it. I love that it is minimal with just enough space for note-taking. I love the concordance and the columns. It’s the Bible I plan to stick with for years to come and it’s perfect for a person who wants to grow fluent with the art of cross-referencing.

ESV Translation :: The ESV translation seeks to capture the literal meaning of the original text. This means the writers of this translation worked super hard to get the words you’re reading as close as possible to the original first drafts of the Bible. AKA nothing lost in translation. 

008. The JEsus Bible

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Lane and I attend Passion City Church- it’s our home church and the place that has had my heart since I moved to Atlanta. And gosh, Passion made a gorgeous Bible with one goal in mind: show people how every piece of scripture points back to Jesus.

If you’ve ever read the Old Testament and wondered where Jesus fits in then this Bible is meant for you. There are references throughout the pages back to Jesus as Messiah, Christ, Servant, and Savior. It’s the perfect Bible for someone who wants the sole focus to be Jesus, Jesus, Jesus and to not let anything get in the way of that.

NIV Translation :: The NIV translation was created by hundreds of scholars— the best in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts. The vision for this translation was provided by a worker at General Electric in the 1960s- Howard Long. Long was devoted to the King James Version of the Bible but was distressed to find out the text didn’t connect when he shared it with friends. Howard longed for a translation that spoke the modern language while keeping the truth of the Bible intact. The NIV Translation was born out of that vision.

I always want to hear from you:

What translation of the Bible do you love reading? What kind of Bible do you use on a daily basis? I would love more recommendations!